Cantor: Obama Chooses Ideology Over Security

For House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, the Christmas Day attack over Detroit and President Obama's reaction to it aren't just proof of a naive worldview, as other Republicans have charged--they're proof that Obama cares more about his own ideology than about protecting Americans.

Cantor made that case in an interview with The Mouth of the Potomac: "I think there is one common theme that has persisted over the last year with this administration, and that is an unrelenting pursuit of an ideological agenda," he said, talking about both Obama's domestic agenda and his security policies, when asked about a press release that linked the Detroit incident to health care and energy reform.

The cause, Cantor said--as have many Republicans--is Obama's outdated concept of global terrorism. "For 10 months they have been unwilling to call a terrorist a terrorist. For 10 months it seems that the object has been run as fast as you can from anything that the prior administration had accomplished," Cantor told The Mouth.

Obama has not actually refused to call a terrorist a "terrorist"; he used the term when he addressed reporters in Hawaii several days after the Christmas attack. Republicans have latched onto this idea because 1) Obama excised the Bush-era term "Global War on Terror" from the government vocabulary, and 2) Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano avoided using the word "terrorism" in her first testimony before Congress in the spring of 2009, later explaining that saying "man-caused" disasters instead was part of a tonal shift.

Republicans have suggested that Obama's attitude has somehow caused problems in the U.S. security apparatus--that it's linked, if not to the failure of a CIA station chief to report Abdulmutallab's father's warning or of other agencies to parlay that information correctly (whichever the case may be), then to the process of fixing those problems and implementing policies that prevent terrorists from getting on planes.

Cantor has tied it all together, in a sense: Republicans have accused Obama of that same "ideological extremism," as Cantor calls it, in separate contexts--but now those criticisms exist in the same space.

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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